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LTI (Leadership Training Institute)
Leadership Training Institute, or LTI, is a three-day event that currently takes place around September at theAmerican Jewish University in Bel Air.
This event, created in 2015, is exclusive to Chapter Board members and Regional General Board members. LTI brings Far West’s leadership together to learn how to become effective leaders in each specialty area. The programming of this weekend will revolve around creating a functional and productive group of leaders that will bring the region and their chapters to their greatest potential. A variety of meetings will take place at LTI, including Chapter Counterpart meetings and General Board meetings led by the Regional Cabinet. This program, more than any other, belongs to them. LTI is an opportunity for Far West to spend time together, develop goals for the year ahead, and work on year-long projects. Through discussion with other USYers and staff, the youth are able to develop new ideas, insights, and approaches towards leadership. Workshops and sessions are only the beginning of the process of developing leadership abilities– a process that will definitely continue throughout the year. This event will help train the current and future leaders of Far West, and will help launch the region into its best year yet.
LTI has its roots in LEAD, which used to be a combination of a big opening event and a leadership weekend. It has had many different settings in the past, including Camp Ramah, hotels, synagogues, and the University of Judaism (now AJU).
Fall Encampment is Far West’s flagship opening event, which always takes place on Veteran’s Day weekend in November at Camp Ramah in California. All USYers from around the region are invited to this big kickoff. Modeled after LEAD, which used to be held at Camp Ramah before transforming into LTI, it is planned by the Regional Cabinet. The purpose of this program is to bring together Far West USYers after summer programs to generate ruach (spirit) and excitement for the coming USY year. In the past, the first all-inclusive event occurred in February, but with this new system the year will start off with a bang! Fall Encampment combines the programming of a Regional Kinnus with the excitement of staying bunk-style in a camp setting. We expect quite a few USYers to become regionally active after attending because of their positive experience at this event. Fall Encampment will definitely be one of the highlights of the year for many USYers in the years to come!
The Madrichim Program is a series of training sessions that take place, starting at Fall Encampment in November.
The purpose of the regional program is to teach USYers how to be good role models and youth advisors. After a year of training, we believe that the Madrichim in Training are ready to be staff for Kadimaniks and Jr. USYers at events and can also help program events.
A Madrich is the Hebrew term for the word guide, or counselor. In the context of a Youth Group, a Madrich (masculine Hebrew) or Madricha (feminine Hebrew) serves as counselors and mentors for the younger age groups (Kadima and Jr. USY). The idea is that it is much easier for an 8-13 year old to identify and look up to a teen, not much older than themselves. Obviously, Madrichim need training– everything from how to talk to little kids, to how to create a program, to how to help encourage kids to love Judaism. We have had some truly wonderful Far West USYers participate in this program and we are proud to say that they have done outstanding work as our Madrichim.
To be a part of the Madrichim program, your youth director will speak to you and give you the application.
Far West Specialty Kinnus
All USY events are amazing, but only one can be deemed “special.” The newest and most unique event Far West has to offer, Far West Specialty Kinnus focuses on the three specialties of USY: SATO (Social Action/Tikkun Olam), HeChalutzim (Israel Education), and Heschel (Jewish Learning). First conceived by Ben Shapiro and Brittany Sacks, attendees have the opportunity to pursue their interests and passions from the three specialized options throughout different points in the weekend. There are a total of 9 possible combinations of programs possible! This exciting opportunity allows USYers to explore diverse fields of our organization in order to broaden their understanding of Judaism and the world. Specialty Kinnus is a platform for learning about each other’s differences while having a memorable experience in a classic kinnus setting. The first ever Specialty Kinnus was held in 2016 at PJTC and was themed “Full House-nus: 3 Specialties, One Kinnus.” The unforgettable weekend set an incredible precedent for years to come.
The final annual program is Regional Convention, which is traditionally held over Memorial Day weekend in May and for the past few years has been held at Camp Alonim.
At Convention, the Cabinet for the following year is elected and many awards are presented. Chapters, USYers, and adult leaders are recognized with numerous honors for their outstanding service and accomplishment in Far West Region. With over 200 USYers, the program reflects the natural ruach that results when such a large group gets together in one place– lots of singing, cheering, dancing, and many opportunities to let out energy!
Why Go To a Kinnus?
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